Endeavour returns 6.6 million miles and 250 orbits later
Space Shuttle Endeavour landed Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. I am a keen human space flight enthusiast and love to see the Space Shuttle on television, in the news and in space. Nowadays people take it for granted that we (us humans) fly in space. It's a miracle. Space is the most inhospitable environment known to man.
Endeavour was the replacement Space Shuttle ordered after the Challenger disaster in 1986. She's the youngest of the remaining Space Shuttle fleet, the first to be fitted with a "glass cockpit", a docking station for Mir, and my favorite. Welcome back Endeavour. Discovery is up for a launch in May.
Once the Space Shuttle's retire in a year or two, it will bring to an end the era of "winged space craft". We'll be back to ugly (though efficient and safe) rockets but without the romantic appeal of a purely white painted angel gliding gently back too Earth and landing on a runway.
Some stats on STS-123:
Landed: Wed., March 26, 8:39 p.m. EDT
Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Mission Elapsed Time:
15 days, 18 hours, 11 minutes, 3 secs
Official Landing Times
Main gear touchdown: 8:39:08 p.m. EDT
Nose gear touchdown: 8:39:17 p.m. EDT
Wheels stop: 8:40:41 p.m. EDT
Total miles: 6.6 million - 250 orbits of the Earth